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Newbie here, hi all! Lots of questions!!

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by BigAL777, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Oh ok
     

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  2. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL
    I worked on that information last night and I will be posting more later (eye playing up today)

    I also use nature its a great teacher I know of one small creek that runs through a property the son originally owned before he handed it over the National Parks as they could look after it far better and stop all the damage being done.

    Most of the rocks are pointing upwards apparently caused by the pressure below millions of years ago.

    Roy has also given you plenty of info to think about.

    Keith:):)
     
  4. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Introduction

    The Japanese term “Iwagumi” literally means “rock formation.” In a Japanese rock garden, the rocks are the “bones” of the layout and usually consist of three or five rocks; one main or large rock flanked by two smaller rocks, but not of equal size. When the rock formation is placed properly, the rest of the layout will simply fall into place.

    Each rock used in Iwagumi has its own name. There are special rules of Iwagumi, such as the way its substrate is laid and the order of rock placement. This section discusses the basics of Iwagumi that every reef scaper should know.

    In an Iwagumi aquascape you should always use an odd number of rocks of various sizes (three, five etc). One of the more difficult aspects of the Iwagumi Style is achieving visual balance through the aquascape. Many Aquascapes follow the “golden ratio rule”, or the “rule of thirds”. These are two different things, although many think they are the same.

    *****When you’re planning out an aquascape, one of the most important aspects is where it will draw the viewer’s gaze. In fact, a viewer’s gaze is what the aquascape is all about. The primary goal of an aquascape is to be pleasing, relaxing, and interesting to look at for the viewer. In order to do so, you need to set a sort of “anchor” for the mind. This is called the focal point. It is the point that draws the gaze of the viewer first, from which they can explore the rest of the tank. A focal point can consist of almost anything, from a large tabling or branching coral to an overhang with Zoanthus species. The only thing it must do is draw attention. You have to make it stand out in some way. There are a few simple things to remember about a focal point.

    *****First, there should only be one. Having more than one focal point leaves the mind uncomfortable and stressed, looking back and forth from focal point to focal point. Only in extremely large tanks may you can have two focal points comfortably. Second, you should have some sort of focal point in every aquascape. Not having any does the same as having too many: the viewer’s eyes are left wandering back and forth, stressed and uncomfortable. Third, the focal point should be placed in a very particular (and special!) location. This is where we come to the Golden Ratio of aquascaping.

    The Golden Ratio

    The Golden Ratio is described as “two quantities are in golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger one equals the ratio of the larger one to the smaller. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887.” Simply put, the golden ratio is about proportion and the size and placement of one element compared to another. With the golden ratio if we look at an element we determine the ratio of one section to the other (in this diagram the left hand section compared to section 1) we arrive at the size based on both the height and width of the element (of which are equal when removing the left hand section) and it is not determined by a ratio of a third. This rule specifically deals with aesthetically pleasing proportions and ratios between two elements.
    This Golden Rule dates all the way back to the Greeks. It seems the they came up with a theory that the ratio 1:1.618 was the most pleasing to the human eye. Many people assume that placing the focal point in the middle is most pleasing; however, this will again keep your eyes wandering left and right. By placing it slightly off centre, you are effectively gently guiding the viewer’s eyes. You’ll see this Golden Rule used in all forms of art, from paintings to architecture. But how do you use this Golden Rule in the aquarium?
    You need is a measuring tape (or ruler) and a calculator. Simply measure your tank lengthwise from one end to the other. Then divide that number by 2.618. Then divide the length of the tank by 2.618. This is where your focal point must be created (on the more left or more right sides).
    [​IMG]

    Keith:):)
     
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  5. moss_maniac

    moss_maniac Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Great information BigAL777 - now it's your turn again! :)
     
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  6. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    My turn for what? I haven't had time to work on anything the last two days, but I've been thinking about a new layout for my tank. I also just picked up another lamp for my tank, I am now at 4.1 watts per galon, next on my list is seachem flourish, then two pots of HC, about $20 with shipping on ebay.
    Anyone know of a site that I can get ADA aqua soil Amazonian for cheap? I don't need a big bag, just enough to cover my substrate, I want to try to dry start HC.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  7. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    One little word on "CHEAP" it might be cheap also it might not be the true ADA soil.

    The Rule of Thirds

    The rule of thirds however deals with a whole different design theory. The rule of thirds instead is a way to place elements within a design as a way to control where a viewer’s eye will travel and what they will see. “The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.”

    The idea is that by placing and arranging elements with the rule of thirds in mind will create a more interesting design and those users eyes will flow through the intersections of the grid thus creating a design that has more energy and tension.

    You may have noticed that this description of the rule of thirds does not talk about nor focus on proportion. You may also notice that an element taking up two out of three columns does not equate to the mathematics that determine the golden ratio. They are two completely different rules.

    [​IMG]
    The Art of Rock scape

    There are four basic stone types used in Japanese rock scaping. These are used in a thousand different combinations, but with the understanding of these basic types and some common usage, we can find the right ones for our aquascape.

    Oyaishi

    This is the primary rock in Iwagumi. It is the largest rock as well. Select the best one in terms of shape and character. Its height should be approximately 2/3 of the height of an aquarium.

    Fukuishi

    This is the second largest rock and is placed on either left or right side of the Oyaishi. Select a rock with the same or similar texture as Oyaishi to give uniformity to the overall Iwagumi.

    Soeishi

    It is smaller than Fukuseki and is placed next to the Oyaishi, along with the Fukuseki. It plays a key role in the flow that the Oyaishi creates by bolstering the presence of the Oyaishi or accentuating the strength of Oyaishi.

    Suteishi (a sacrificial stone)

    It is a small rock that does not stand out in the overall arrangement of Iwagumi, and it may even become hidden by aquatic plants occasionally. Its presence has a subtle, simple elegance.

    These basic stones are used in any number of combinations and are often combined with Helping or Throwaway stones, smaller nondescript rocks that need not fit any of our formal definitions. Two and three stone groups are the norm and can be combined together to create larger focal points. There are five stone groups that are usually the main focus of a garden, often in the guardian stone position; this is a very powerful grouping and needs careful balancing.
    [​IMG]
    Koya Garden



    Keith:):)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
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  8. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I gave my plants a quick trimming after changing out my DIY mixture. What do you think about the space between the stones? I think they look a little too evenly spaced out, I might have to redo some placements. I'm thinking of swapping the left front stone with the rightmost stone and either moving it really far over to the right, or moving it almost right up against the main stone.
     

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  9. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I moved some rocks around, and threw a long skinny one up front. What do you think?
    (The needle is for fertilizers, I swear lol)
    My thoughts are the new stone up front is too distracting...
     

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    BigAL

    My suggestion at the moment is remove that large stone at the front plus the very small one front centre that will leave you with 5 rocks.

    Next take the two smaller rocks LH side out and have a good think where you should place them.
    Just take it a lot slower and it will out a lot faster.

    I still have more to post, once you read and understand it all then it will fall into place very easily.


    Keith:):)

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    your large stone is nice. However the placement and direction crowd the right side of the tank. I would move it to the left focal area with the same type of angle. Then place the stone to the right, the second largest off to the left of the Oyashi facing towards the front left corner. then take the last 3 and use them to the right of the Oyashi and flowing towards the front right corner.

    There is no "cheap" place to get aquasoil. Your best bet is to get Amazonia from aquaforest aquarium. All the other soils like UpAqua are similar and around the same price per volume. Get one 9 liter bag.

    PS if you are interested I have a load of Micranthemum monte carlo I'd send you for the cost of shipping ($6) let me know ;)
     
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  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    OR the first round of pictures before the changes looked pretty good to me.
     
  13. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Really!?! That would be great!
    Keith: here's the problems, I've read through and studied all of this information before I started a scape. The problem isn't the information, it's that I find it difficult to learn just by reading a book or a web site, I have to try it for myself, I'm one of those ADD bastards lol. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate you taking the time to type that all up, it's just hard to apply everything I read with so many variables to take into account: I didn't dry start, my stones don't have the same characteristics of seiryu stone, my tank isn't a cube, I'm on a tight budget, I'm trying to make the micro swords work vs other smaller plants (not working so well, It falls apart very very easily and the runners grow straight up, or across the grasses, so I'm constantly burying pieces of the plants), and mimicking flow with stones isn't something easily achieved for me. On another note I have been google image searching iwagumi hardscapes and I'm learning a lot just by studying the photos people have posted with various rock formations. But again, I do appreciate everything you have done and are doing for me.
    Shawn: I will do the changes you suggested, however there is one more drastic idea I would like to try if your suggestions aren't my liking. I'm not saying your ideas are bad, I'm just saying I'm rather picky lol. I took the big long stone in the front out almost as soon as I took the last pictures. I snapped another one right away since I liked the look without it a little more. But yes I would very much appreciate some Monte Carlo!
     

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
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  14. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Shawn: So the second largest stone, I placed like that since that's it's good side, the other side of it isn't as attractive, in fact all of the stones I've placed in their respective direction because that's the good side of those stones, much consideration went into choosing those stones. But I'm not against taking the stone out all together and replacing it with another one that pleases my eyes. Just to get your idea right, you want the Oyaishi to be the only rear right facing stone? #2 faces left front, the rest face right front? I've snapped a couple of photos of my second largest stone:
     

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  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    If you think that is the best side of the stone that works. In my opinion the scape is crowding the right side and flowing that way. I would move it all to the left focal region and have it continue to flow that way. This way it is moving into negative space versus the wall of the tank.

    I think a nice scape could be managed with monte carlo to the front of the stones and the sides with the microswords in the back. It would look nice. Just get the stones right and let it be. PM me and we will arrange a shipment of monte carlo.
     
  16. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Alright, great, thank you. I have a lot of medium size stones like the second largest so I could probably find one that I like facing the opposite direction.
     
  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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  18. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  19. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    OK I was studying a lot of iwagumi pictures and I think I've figured out the the layout concepts. The biggest points one way, 2nd largest points opposite, then the last point in the same direction as the biggest.
    If it's split in two the biggest and 3rd or 4th biggest are facing one way together, then the second, 3rd, 4th, or 5th are on the opposite side pointing the other way, making an odd shaped negative zone in the center of the tank. I'll get all my rocks out tonight and see what I can come up with.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  20. BigAL777

    BigAL777 Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I drew up some concepts in very little time. I used the general shape of the rocks already in my tank plus one or two others that I knew I had. The last two pictures are very similar but I just moved the 3rd stone more to the right. What do you think?
     

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